Estonia opens Eesti Laul 2017 submissions — and welcomes foreign authors

Last year Estonia sought to turn Eesti Laul into the Melodifestivalen of the Baltics by moving its national selection into the Saku Arena and pumping up the show’s production value.

But despite an impressive national final, the country’s golden boy Jüri Pootsmann ultimately came last in his semi-final at Eurovision 2016.

No doubt hoping to improve on that result, producers have decided to tweak their selection format for Eurovision 2017 and are accepting submissions from non-native authors for the very first time.

In a statement sent to wiwibloggs, Estonian broadcaster ERR explains that foreign composers and lyricists can submit songs so long as at least half of the music has been authored by an Estonian or Estonian resident. The lyrics may be composed by any person of any nationality.

Matt Normet, producer of Eesti Laul, seemed to pre-empt fan fears that an influx of foreign songs — (read that as Swedish-produced songs) — could overwhelm and overshadow local contributions.

“We are opening the door for non-native authors carefully to avoid a flood of template pop music which has no connection to Estonia. With the idea of opening the borders we want to fortify our music, stir the blood and bring in new ideas, offering new opportunities to our authors. Cooperation is the keyword.”

There’s more.

The broadcaster is also reserving the right to invite any artist it wishes to enter the jury phase of the competition, “allowing us to target artists who we want to see in the competition.”

The full rules and necessary forms can be found on the official website at, but here are some highlights:

  • One author or group of authors can participate in the contest with up to three songs
  • A single performer or a group of performers can submit up to three songs
  • Songs must be brought to ERR’s reception desk — yes, you need to hand-deliver them yourself — at Gonsiori 27, Tallinn, by 1 November 2016 at 15:00 local time
  • Submissions should also include photos and short biographies of the performers, questionnaires answered by each team member and the lyrics to the song (because we all know they can be rul hard to decipher without text)

ERR will no longer accept submissions on CDs, which some of our older readers may remember as DVD-like circular discs that were once popular in the distribution of music.

“We have taken a big step into the 21st century — this year we will not wait for CDs with the songs anymore,” Normet said. “Bringing the songs in personally is testimony that the team is one hundred per cent behind their creation. It’s not just comfortable virtual clicking and uploading, but still the real cost of energy and movement.”

The Eesti Laul 2017 semi-finals will take place on the 11th and 18th of February at the ERR studios. The final will take place on the 4th of March at the Saku Arena.

Tickets are already on sale and available at Piletilevi.

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